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Alzheimer s in women: Could midlife stress play a role?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Affecting millions of people in the United States, this progressive condition has no proven cause, treatment, or cure. What researchers do know, however, is that women bear the brunt of the condition. For reasons as yet unknown, Alzheimer's disease is more likely to affect women. However, new research sheds light on the potential impact of stress on their cognitive functioning. Previous research has shown that age can have a significant impact on women's stress response, and that a stressful life experience can cause memory and cognitive issues. However, these problems tend to be short term. Researchers have now decided to look at the relationship between stress and the long term cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's. Stopping stress is an almost impossible task, but it may be possible to change the way the body reacts to it. Munro explains that medications that could change how the brain copes with stressful events are in the development stage. Combining these with well-known stress relieving techniques may help as people, particularly women, age. The team found a link between an increased number of midlife psychosocial stressors — such as divorce, problems with children, and mental illness in a close relative and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Further studies will need to examine if there is a cause and effect relationship between stress and cognitive decline. If this is the case, altering the body's stress response may be even more imperative.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Wearable tech works like a Band-Aid to monitor health

The human skin is a fascinating organ. In fact, it is the largest and heaviest organ of the human body, extending to about 20 square feet, on average. The skin's main function is protective  it creates a barrier between our insides and the external world. However, skin does a lot more than protect us. Our skin can give much away about our internal states, as outward signs of physiological changes can provide a window into our physical and emotional conditions. Researchers use the galvanic skin response, for example, to gain insights into a person's levels of arousal, stress, excitement, engagement, frustration, and anger. Now, scientists have developed a way to harness these skin signals with a device that does not require batteries, wires, or chips. Scientists have designed an innovative, wearable tech device that tracks movement, heart rate, and breathing without using any wires, batteries, or circuits. The device sticks to human skin like a Band-Aid. Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, in California, and her team have designed a patch that sticks to skin like a Band-Aid and measures how a person's skin stretches and contracts. The device then sends these readings wirelessly to a receiver attached to the person's clothes. Based on these readings, the researchers were able to monitor a person's breathing and heart rate, as well as their arm and leg movements. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)